Hey, you know what? Let's leave them alone.

I know that the Brazilian official who ordered the flight and the photos did it to prove that this group exist, in order to argue for preservation of land around them, but this might be the saddest picture I have ever seen.

As a connoisseur of the Doom, I ogle a lot of tragic stuff. This is, I think, the heartbreaker of all time.

Humans are such fragile things. No shiny exoskeleton, no big teeth or claws, just our strange, wondrous sense of community to protect us- and in most of our worlds, isn't that sense of community kind of dying (like, well, our oceans, etc?) I mean, Bowling Alone blah blah blah. Oh heck.

I hope with all of my heart that they are left in peace.


Survivalism redux- not from the NYT, so with less wine and goat cheese.

Yet another 'new survivalism' story. I only wish I was this together.

"Convinced the planet's oil supply is dwindling and the world's economies are heading for a crash, some people around the country are moving onto homesteads, learning to live off their land, conserving fuel and, in some cases, stocking up on guns they expect to use to defend themselves and their supplies from desperate crowds of people who didn't prepare.

The exact number of people taking such steps is impossible to determine, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the movement has been gaining momentum in the last few years.

These energy survivalists are not leading some sort of green revolution meant to save the planet. Many of them believe it is too late for that, seeing signs in soaring fuel and food prices and a faltering U.S. economy, and are largely focused on saving themselves." LINK

And it's all happening so much faster than predicted.

Aye yah, this is sad and scary. The ocean acidification that was supposed to begin affecting us in, oh, 50+ years- well, it's happening now. Faster and stronger and new and improved and probably lemon-scented, 'cuz that's the American way.

"Climate models predicted it wouldn't happen until the end of the century.
So a team led by Seattle researchers was stunned to discover that vast swaths of acidified seawater already are showing up along the Pacific Coast as greenhouse-gas emissions upset the oceans' chemical balance.
"What we found ... was truly astonishing," said oceanographer Richard Feely, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. "This means ocean acidification may be seriously impacting marine life on the continental shelf right now."
All along the coast, the scientists found regions where the water was acidic enough to dissolve the shells and skeletons of clams, corals and many of the tiny creatures at the base of the marine food chain. Acidified water also can kill fish eggs and a wide range of marine larvae.
"Entire marine ecosystems are likely to be affected," said co-author Debby Ianson, an oceanographer at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Climate scientist Ken Caldeira, of the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University, said the finding underscores the limitations of computer models.
"This is another example where what's happening in the natural world seems to be happening much faster than what our climate models predict," he said.
And there's worse to come, the scientists warn.
A network of currents shuffles ocean water around the globe. The acidified water upwelling along the coast today was last exposed to the atmosphere about 50 years ago, when carbon-dioxide levels were much lower than they are now. That means the water that will rise from the depths over the coming decades will have absorbed more carbon dioxide and will be even more acidic.
"We've got 50 years worth of water that's already left the station and is on its way to us," Hales said. "Each one of those years is going to be a little bit more corrosive than the one before."" LINK

To add to that end-of-the-world feel, here come the cicadas! Come on down, locust-like creatures! The time is nigh.

I might even want to go up to Massachusetts to check this out- sounds amazing.
"They take their time. Seventeen years, to be exact.
But any day now, millions of periodic cicadas will pop out of the ground and swarm up houses and trees.
They will come out by the millions — experts estimate 1.5 million per acre at the center of a hatch — to climb up trees and shed their skin. They come out white and turn a dark brown over the course of several hours. Then they don't do much except grow, mate and die." LINK

Spanish drought revealing drowned medieval village, forcing imports of water from France.

The terrible drought in Spain is leading to some eerie pictures. The dried out pond in front of the cathedral is so strange to see, because the image is so familiar
but so bizarre. The Sagrada Familia cathedral is still unfinished, but the lake in front of it with the reflections of the towers in it is a classic, I guess clicheed snapshot of the city, and looking at the empty lake is just... wrong.
Even stranger, though, are images of Sant Roma- a village that was drowned when a valley was flooded to provide water for the region. The water levels have declined so much in the drought that tourists are flocking to see the newly-emerged church, walking on land that's been under water since the 1970s.
"The political battles now breaking out here could be a foretaste of the water wars that scientists and policymakers have warned us will be commonplace in the coming decades. The emergency water-saving measures Barcelona adopted after winter rains failed for a second year running have not been enough. The city has had to set up a "water bridge" and is shipping in water for the first time in the history of this great maritime city.
A tanker from Marseilles with 36 million litres of drinking water unloaded its first cargo this week, one of a mini-fleet contracted to bring water from the Rhone every few days for at least the next three months.
A striking image of the seriousness of the drought is provided by the emergence of a church from the waters of a drying reservoir. For 40 years, all you could see of the drowned village of Sant Roma was the belltower of its stone church, which peeped from time to time above the surface of the artificial lake in a valley flooded in the 1960s to supply Catalonia with water. This year falling water levels have revealed the 11th-century church in its entirety for the first time, attracting curious onlookers who walk round it on the reservoir's dusty bed. Spain's Socialist government recognises that climate change will intensify water shortages, and favours desalination plants. One such plant, among the biggest in Europe – and 75 per cent EU funded – is being built on the outskirts of Barcelona and will supply 20 per cent of the city's water. But it will not be ready until next year.
"It was already very important when it was planned, but now with the urgent drought, it has become indispensable," said Tomas Azurra, the chief engineer at the plant.
Ecologists warn that desalination plants are costly in energy use, and damage the environment with high CO2 emissions. But developed European regions can afford them, and they're preferable to diverting water from rivers, which critics say is even more damaging. " LINK

Interesting on many levels.

I don't know what to say about this, really, except how terrifying it is that "Approximately one in every 150 children in the United States has autism or a closely related disorder -- a figure higher than most recent estimates -- according to a federal survey released yesterday, the most thorough ever conducted." LINK

1 in 150 is not good odds, dude. No freaking way. I have seen enough autistic kids to know that there is no way people could pray in peace around one who is having a freakout- that, in fact, it might cause people to re-evaluate the whole freaking fairytale about a loving bearded dude who made them out of clay or whatever. Yeah. And, um, so scared of ever having a child. My understanding is that it's not something that happens until the baby is a year old or so, and then, it's like, some light is off- I can't imagine. My heart really does go out to people with autistic children- you are the unhailed saints of our day. But dude, please, if they are going to go batsh*t all over some public place, is that ok for everyone else to suffer?

Again I realize that this is not a comfortable topic- at all. For me, either. I don't know what to say, but I do fully support this priest in trying to keep this boy out of his services. Eeeeek. Thoughts on this are welcomed.

"The parents of a 13-year-old autistic boy in Bertha, Minnesota, are facing a restraining order from their parish priest because of their handicapped child.
The priest filed a court complaint against the parents for what Rev. Daniel Walz says was their boy's unruly behaviour during mass. He wants them to keep their son -- Adam Race -- away from church.

Walz claims Adam has urinated and spat in church and that his behaviour presents a danger to other parishioners. " LINK

The boy is over 6 feet tall and weighs over 225 pounds. LINK

Rat plague in Bangladesh- ick!

"Dhaka - The UN's World Food Programme began distributing emergency food aid on Sunday to 120 000 people facing famine in south eastern Bangladesh, where an invasion of rats led to widespread crop destruction.
People from the affected areas in the Chittagong hill tracks were struggling to feed themselves and had been eating wild roots from the jungle ever since the area was overrun by millions of rats, the WFP said. The flowering of bamboo forests for the first time in 50 years in the affected areas, located along a 300-kilometre border stretch with India, led to the so-called "rat-flood".
The rodents multiplied by feeding on bamboo blossoms, rice stalks and vegetables. Villagers said that whatever they tried to grow was devoured within hours.
Plague every 50 to 60 years
The bamboo forests first began blossoming last year in the Lusai Hills in the neighbouring Indian state of Mizoram. Authorities declared it a disaster zone after rats went on to eat food stocks.
Locals said the plague happened once every 50 to 60 years, with the last such disaster in 1958.
It was feared the rats would infest the region for at least three more years, as they did in the late 1950s. " LINK

Oh hell. Humans are wiping out about 1% of all other species every year.

"Between a quarter and a third of the world's wildlife has been lost since 1970, according to data compiled by the Zoological Society of London.
Populations of land-based species fell by 25%, marine by 28% and freshwater by 29%, it says.

Humans are wiping out about 1% of all other species every year, and one of the "great extinction episodes" in the Earth's history is under way, it says.

Some of the worst hit are marine species which saw their numbers plummet by 28% in just 10 years, between 1995 and 2005.
Populations of ocean birds have fallen by 30% since the mid 1990s, while land-based populations have dropped by 25%.

Lifestyles and the consumption of resources vary widely from country to country. On average each person needs 2.2 global hectares to support the demands they place on the environment, but the planet is only able to meet consumption levels of 1.8 global hectares per person. " LINK

It's that time of year again, Florida is on fire. But don't eat frog legs, even if they're nicely cooked from the fires, they're toxic. Yay Florida!

"Almost 33,000 acres of the Everglades National Park were burning Sunday, fire officials said, the latest in a series of wildfires that have scorched parts of Florida in May." LINK

So, the Everglades is on fire, but here's more Florida goodness -
"State wildlife and health officials warned Floridians last week against eating too many frog legs if they come from frogs caught in the state-controlled parts of the Everglades in western Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
A two-night harvest of 150 pig frogs from the Everglades and the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area showed that the frogs had elevated mercury levels." LINK

Food waste- horrifying.

This has filled me with resolve to be less wasteful. Yikes.

"As it turns out, Americans waste an astounding amount of food — an estimated 27 percent of the food available for consumption, according to a government study — and it happens at the supermarket, in restaurants and cafeterias and in your very own kitchen. It works out to about a pound of food every day for every American.

...The Department of Agriculture estimated that recovering just 5 percent of the food that is wasted could feed four million people a day; recovering 25 percent would feed 20 million people." LINK

Horrifying- a new storm headed to Myanmar

"A "significant" tropical cyclone is expected to form in the next 24 hours and sweep across Myanmar's largest city Yangon and into the Irrawaddy delta area -- the region worst affected -- according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Aid agencies estimate that there are around 2 million people who survived Cyclone Nargis on May 3, many of whom are still homeless, and the groups have been able to reach only 270,000 of them so far, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

The United Nations estimates that between 63,000 and 100,000 people died as a result of the cyclone, while the junta has put the figure at less than 30,000. " LINK

Horrifying- a new storm headed to Myanmar

"A "significant" tropical cyclone is expected to form in the next 24 hours and sweep across Myanmar's largest city Yangon and into the Irrawaddy delta area -- the region worst affected -- according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Aid agencies estimate that there are around 2 million people who survived Cyclone Nargis on May 3, many of whom are still homeless, and the groups have been able to reach only 270,000 of them so far, The Associated Press reported Wednesday." LINK

Interesting if true...

From China Daily
"Meanwhile, ahead of Monday's deadly earthquake, many people reported seeing unusual animal behavior.
On Saturday, local media reported that hundreds of thousands of toads had appeared on the streets of Manzhu, a city about 60 km southeast of Wenchuan.
A resident surnamed Liu was quoted as saying he saw countless toads killed by passing vehicles as they crossed roads, and that he had never seen anything like it.
Similarly, on Friday, people in Taizhou, Jiangsu province, also said they saw tens of thousands of toads on the city's streets, local media said.
Experts have said animals can give advance notice of quakes, as they sense tremors before they happen.
Unfortunately, no one heeded the toads' "warning".
In response to questions from the public about the reptilian swarms, officials in both Mianzhu and Taizhou said there was nothing unusual about them.
"The move is because of the change of weather," Shu Shi, director of the Mianzhu forestry bureau, was quoted as saying by local media."

Making it rain in the UAE...

This stuff just creeps me out. When will the first war over cloud stealing be?

"Many UAE motorists making their way home on Tuesday would have put the dark skies and light rain down to just a freak occurrence, but in fact the unseasonably bad weather could have been manmade as scientists were carrying out tests to induce artificial rain.The Meteorological Department at the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) used aircraft to sprinkle cloud seeding salts in moist clouds heading towards Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain, reported state news agency Wam.The monitoring stations subsequently registered light to medium rainfalls in different areas of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Wam said." LINK

I'm not dead! But I have Lyme.

Lyme is awful. And, lest ye think I'm getting all personal here, Lyme is part of the Doom. First, it might have been a US biowarfare project that rode a deer off of poorly secured labs on Plum Island, and second, climate change is leading to explosions of tick populations that spread the nasty, dangerous disease. So there.
And it's going to be a bad year for it, so look out.

"A University of Rhode Island Professor is warning that this summer may be a big one for a small, disease carrying critter.
Thomas Mather thinks this summer could be a good one for ticks, and a bad one for us.
The problem starts with acorns, Mather says, which were plentiful in 2006. More acorns, more mice. More mice, more Lyme disease, which ticks transmit between the rodents and humans.
“The result,” he said, “is that people will be more likely to encounter ticks that can transmit Lyme and other diseases.”
Mather, an entomology professor and the director of URI’s Center for Vector-Borne Disease, also thinks the tick season will begin a little early this year –– mid May instead of late May or early June.
His predictions rest on the right conditions for tick survival, “The weather could have an impact on how bad the tick season is,” he said “If we have a very dry May and June, my predictions get tossed out the window.”
But it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Mather suggests checking for tics thoroughly every day; using a pointy tick removing tweezers to safely remove attached ticks; treating clothes with repellent containing Permathrin and wearing treated clothes; keeping yards clear of trash and other litter; hiring a professional pest controller to treat yards.
For more information, see the URI Tick Encounter Resource Center, online." LINK